Our Ref Br4/16/3

3rd August 2021


Dear Colleagues



Further to previous correspondence members will be aware that we have reluctantly entered into discussions with Wabtec over plans to introduce flexible working. A number of meetings have taken place between your representatives and the company where they presented a few different proposals involving different working patterns and start times in order to achieve a four-day week.

These discussions are at an early stage with much to be clarified - from start and finishing times, to the overall impact on owed hours and your work life balance. We have requested a formal document with much more detail before any consultation starts which we hope will address the numerous scenarios that we raised during discussions.
Although management say they are ready to talk to the workforce and get feedback on their proposals, RMT our sister union Unite have asked them to hold off until there is more flesh on the bones so you understand the full implications of Wabtec’s intentions.

Over the weeks of discussions there has been talk of giving up the short Friday and working a full 5 - day week. More recently there has been talk of changing to a 4 day week with longer working hours. The main reason they are seeking flexible working is so that they can “flex you off” when they do not have enough work for you and bring you in to work longer hours/more shifts when they need you.

I can fully understand that on the face of it a 4 day week looks attractive as this would give a 3 day weekend. However, there is a concern you might end up owing hours and shifts back to the employer and end up having to work a lot of those 5thdays.  In addition we will need to understand how much overtime there might be available to work in the future.
We are highlighting these points with you now as we do not want to get ahead of ourselves. We will proceed with caution making sure everyone is clear of the full implications of flexible working so that you and your colleagues are in the best position to make an informed decision in full knowledge of any pitfalls there may be.

We are expecting a further report from your negotiating team in the near future which will be considered by the union’s NEC. I will keep members fully informed of developments.

Yours sincerely

Michael Lynch
General Secretary